Hello, my name is Katerina Meyvial, I am a wedding planner in Paris and I plan destination weddings and elopements in Paris for couples from all over the world. Today, I would like to talk to you about destination weddings in France, how they have been impacted by COVID and what to expect from 2021-2022 wedding seasons.
UPDATE : May 2021
As per the recent announcement made by President Macron, international tourists that have already been vaccinated can travel to France as of June 9th 2021. There will still be a curfew (11 pm) until June 30th, and some restrictions will apply to seated dinners organised indoors.
However, as of June 30th, and unless the sanitary situation changes dramatically, destination weddings can take place!
It means that if you plan an elopement or an intimate celebration, there is no need to postpone to a later date! As long as your guests are willing to travel, you can celebrate as planned!
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Based on my own experience and that of my colleagues, I come to the conclusion that not all events scheduled for 2020 have been postponed to 2021. Actually, half of the events that were supposed to take place in 2020 has been cancelled completely, and another half has been rescheduled for 2021. Some couples who were planning to come to France decided to have a wedding at home instead. Curiously enough, some couples that were initially planning to get married at home, decided to elope rather than rescheduling their 2020 wedding.
How will Covid impact 2021 destination weddings in France?
2021 is going to be a very busy year for vendors and venues. Those locations, that have already been popular, are now fully booked throughout the whole 2021 season. In many cases, the only dates that are left are either during a low season or during weekdays. If you start planning your destination wedding in France now and if you schedule it for 2021, chances are you won’t find a weekend or Friday date available in the most popular venues.
If it is the case, I would recommend having your wedding on Monday instead. As your guests are travelling, having a wedding on Monday will allow them to take their flight back home on Tuesday and potentially be back at work on Wednesday. In some cases, people might opt for doing a day or two of distance working so that to stay in Paris for longer without taking too many days off.
Now, you are probably asking yourself, “Can I actually plan a destination wedding for 2021?” My answer is “Yes, you can, but you should be mentally ready to postpone.” It is possible that everything will be fine and that we will get back to something more or less normal. Yet, we don’t know if for sure.
I and some of my colleagues have already started to book 2021 weddings with couples coming from both the Americas and Europe, which shows that people are optimistic. At the same time, there are planners that have no new reservations for destination weddings since March 2020. So, I guess there are two types of couples and two types of guests. Some are very cautious and are unwilling to take any risks and some can’t wait to start travelling again. As long as you and your partner agree on your position, and are ready to tolerate the risk of possible rescheduling, you can move along with planning your 2021 destination wedding in France.
Will people be willing to travel to a destination wedding in 2021?
Some couples are afraid that a part of their guests won’t be willing to travel overseas, and it is likely to be the case. As with couples, guests will be divided into two groups, those taking all precautions and those that are ready to take a plane to anywhere! And you are likely to have both groups on your guest list.
One of the couples I work with, and whose wedding is supposed to take place in late July 2021, has sent 60 invitations expecting around 40 confirmed guests. To their great surprise, all those people they would expect to say “No”, have actually RSVP-ed present. It is likely you will be surprised too by “yes” and “no” that you will receive.
Shall I postpone my destination wedding to 2022?
If you don’t feel very comfortable about 2021 and prefer to stay on the safe side without sacrificing your dream about having a destination wedding in France, you can plan your wedding for 2022.
The high season in France begins in April, which is just 17 months away from today when this article is being written (Mid-September 2020). Usually, one should start planning a destination wedding 12 to 18 months in advance anyway, so the timing is pretty right.
In the very beginning of the pandemic, some couples whose weddings were supposed to take place in France in 2020, were worried that vendors they have hired might not survive through the economic crisis. And whilst it is definitely not an easy period for the weddings and events industry, the French government supports us pretty well allowing to compensate part of the losses. I think the majority of vendors and business will be fine despite some temporary struggles.
To protect their clients, French wedding vendors have adapted their contracts and now offer very flexible conditions allowing you to reschedule to late 2021 or even 2022 if needed.
I really want to think that the worst part is over and it can only get better, so if you are dreaming about a destination wedding in France (or in any other country of your choice), I don’t think you should abandon this dream. Good things take time after all, and I personally believe that partying in France and celebrating your wedding with your dearest ones it is definitely worth waiting. Don’t be in a rush to make a decision, and if your dream was always to get married in France, don’t compromise on it because of the circumstances. Wedding is not like holidays that you can repeat one or two years later.
If you have any questions regarding planning your wedding in Paris or elsewhere in France, please feel free to contact me! I am always happy to help and I love sharing all the best France has to offer, so it will be my huge pleasure and honour to help you to plan your destination wedding here!